Maintenance of tariff signals and power to light up 12 new signals hangs fire as the Coimbatore Corporation and the Tangedco seemed to be sparing over tariff structure. The impact of the difference between the two government departments is that road users are forced to guess the signal at several junctions to drive ahead.
The problem arose in March 2019 after the Corporation removed the advertisement boards following a Madras High Court verdict.
The removal of advertisements resulted in the advertiser stopping maintenance. After a few months of negotiations among the Corporation, Coimbatore City and Rural Police and other agencies, the District Road Safety Committee took up the issue to find a solution.
Finally, the Corporation took up the responsibility to maintain the traffic signals by agreeing to pay the power charges to the Tangedco.
But the problem did not stop there. The Tangedco that had been charging tariff under category VI (temporary supply, lavish illumination) at ₹ 12 a unit changed it to tariff V (commercial).
This has become a point of contention between the Corporation and the Tangedco, with the former arguing that the power distributor was wrong in categorising traffic signals under the commercial tariff category as there was no advertisement.
It urged the Tangedco to recategorise traffic signals under tariff II-A (public lighting). Further, the Corporation had also argued against paying deposit under the commercial tariff category.
Corporation Commissioner Sravan Kumar Jatavath said the civic body had taken up the issue with senior Tangedco officials in Chennai to arrive at a solution.
In this turf war between the two agencies, the 12 new traffic signals that NGO Uyir had installed in the city have become the victim.
Consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon, who is working to resolve the issue, says that not just the traffic lights, but the cameras attached to the signals are not powered on. The result, the ₹ 3 crore that the NGO invested remains under utilised.
Mr. Jatavath said that with the Tangedco delaying a decision in this regard, the Corporation was thinking of taking it up with the State Government to resolve the issue.
Mr. Kathirmathiyon said the government was yet to take a decision on who should maintain traffic signals in the State – the police or local body. This was the situation across the State except in Chennai, where the Chennai city police maintained the signals. The government that recently concluded the Road Safety Week celebration should seriously look into the issue to put an end to it.Source: The Hindu